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Stay Out of Trouble Copying Proposal Examples Win More By Writing Your Own

I received a packet of information recently in the mail. The introductory letter started off with some text in mismatched font sizes and types and the wrong salutation for my name.

As a business owner, I file packets like this in my recycle bin. Why? Because I can tell that this is only a copy that is going out to thousands of other business owners. For one thing, I have multiple business licenses, so I got multiple copies. But even if I hadn't, I could tell that the sender has substituted only a few words--my last name, the word "office," and the name of my company--because he forgot to change the font so all the text would match.

The sender clearly hasn't bothered to check that I am a 'Mr.' not a 'Ms.' And most telling of all, the sender forgot to take out the word 'construction,' and why would my publishing company need a construction worker? Does Hard@Work even employ construction workers, or is this a copy of another company's proposal that they found on the Internet?

I recognize that the person who created this proposal was not a writer but a copier. I have no doubt that Hard@Work Temps is sending the same package to thousands of other companies. As a matter of fact, I'm sure I'll discover exactly that when I get together with local business owners at our next networking meeting.

Did receiving this packet inspire me to use the services of Hard@Work Temps? No way. It makes me think that if the company is this lazy and careless in sending out proposals, they'll probably be that lazy and careless in all their business dealings.

I'm a professional writer and editor, and of course I re-use formats and basic information where it's appropriate, but I start from scratch when I write and I always proofread carefully to make sure that everything I'm sending out represents me and is intended for my specific client. Copying someone else's proposal would be like copying someone else's homework--it's not ethical and it's certainly not professional, and some telltale sign is bound to be left--mismatched writing styles, the wrong word, a name that doesn't belong.

One of the best practices to follow when writing your business proposals is that copying samples is not recommended.

Now don't get me wrong about using samples of other peoples work. Sample proposals are great to use as guidelines to see how someone wrote a proposal for a specific situation. You can use samples as guidelines for helping you decide how to write your own. What you don't want to do is just cut and paste and slap your name on it.

Your final client facing proposal should be in your own words and in your own style. It should match what you say on your public web site and any other material your company sends out such as brochures.

Sample proposals give you a big head start, but you need to do the work of creating a document that represents you and is designed for your specific audience. A copied proposal just won't cut it when your proposal is not the only one on the client's desk. If you are absolutely in love with a sample proposal, you can copy and paste the text from the example proposal, but you run all the risks I mentioned above.

The competition's tough out there. Use pre-designed templates and sample proposals to help you efficiently create your own personalized proposal. Then at the next networking meeting, instead of laughing about the latest crummy copy they all received, your clients and potential customers will be raving about your fantastic proposal.

About Author Ian Lauder :

Ian Lauder has been helping small businesses and individuals write their proposals and contracts since 1997. => For more tips and best practices when writing your business proposals and legal contracts visit <a href="" target="_blank"></a>

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Article Added on Monday, May 26, 2014
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